My best friend has severe sleep apnea, and…?

Question by Barney Blake: My best friend has severe sleep apnea, and…?
I’m a nurse, so I’m well aware what sleep apnea is, what causes it, and what the treatments are.
My problem is that my best friend (age 53) has SEVERE sleep apnea, he goes for 30-45 seconds without breathing (while asleep). Its affecting his mood, his lack of feeling rested during the day, his extremities turn pale and/or gray while he sleeps, and one of these days I’m afraid I’m going to find him dead in his apartment.
He has seen a doctor, he’s had multiple sleep studies done, he even owns a C-Pap machine (which he refuses to use).
He had a heart attack 3 years ago, and had cardiac cath with 3 stents placed, and I’m certain that the sleep apnea is doing much additional damage to his already damaged heart.
I’ve BEGGED him to see a doctor, he claims that “all the bloodwork comes back normal”, and his yearly stress test results are always “within normal limits”. Still, I worry for his life, he is my BEST FRIEND, and I don’t know what else to do. I’ve slept over many times, watching him sleep, and when his breathing stops, I often wonder if it’ll start again, I count the seconds, and breathe a sigh of relief when he gasps for another breath.
He’s almost 100 lbs overweight, a former smoker, and bipolar.

Best answer:

Answer by Alexandrea
Your best bet, might be trying to find out why he doesnt use his C-PAP machine. perhaps its discomfort, or the general feeling. See if there are other types of machines, or different models he may be able to use. Ask about different positions that might help. That is a long time for him to go without sleeping. I used to stop breathing at night in my sleep, and wake up tingling. I also realized that it only happened when I felt completely worn out. It may help for him to get a few good nights of sleep, and perhaps when he gets worn out enough, hey may warm up to the use of the CPAP.

Unfortunately, you must know better than many people, that if they refuse to abide by your medical advice, then there is nothing left you can really do, other than continuously urge them into better choices. Perhaps helping your friend lose weight might be a good start to help treat the apnea.

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